Walmart has tapped a Land O’ Lakes executive to serve as its new vice president for global food safety compliance. Sara Mortimore began her duties on Monday and fills the shoes of Frank Yiannas, who left to serve as deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the FDA in December 2018. At Land O’Lakes, Mortimore was vice president of product safety, quality and regulatory affairs. Mortimore studied food science and technology at Seale-Hayne Agriculture College and earned her master’s from Leicester University, both in the UK.

The Senate Agriculture Committee advanced three USDA nominations who were originally named in 2018 but never confirmed by the Senate before the last Congress adjourned. The committee approved Naomi Earp for assistant secretary for civil rights, Scott Hutchins for USDA’s undersecretary for research, education and economics and the department’s chief scientist, and Mindy Brashears, who was named to be undersecretary for food safety. To read more on the advancement, click here.

Last week the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Kimberly ReedJudith Delzoppo Pryor, and Spencer Bachus to serve on the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Bunge’s CEO Gregory Heckman announced a new leadership restructure along with the implementation of a new global operating model to take effect immediately. Bunge Agribusiness will be organized under three of the company’s most experienced executives to better leverage their skills and capabilities. Raul Padilla, current president of South America and Sugar & Bioenergy, becomes president of global operations while also continuing to lead Sugar & Bioenergy. Christos Dimopoulos, current president of Agribusiness, becomes president of global supply chains, and Brian Zachman remains as president of global risk management. Pierre Mauger, current president of Bunge’s Europe and Asia division, will transition to the role of chief transformation officer, where he will be responsible for the portfolio optimization and strategy. Todd Bastean, president of North America, and Gordon Hardie, president of Food & Ingredients, will both retire from Bunge after the transition period.

CropLife America (CLA) hired Manojit Basu to serve as its managing director of science policy beginning May 28. Before CLA, Basu served as the vice president of regulatory affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). In this new role, Basu will lead research and advocate to promote the solutions CLA members created, as well as implement and manage science and regulatory policy strategies.

Jay Vroom has been named chair of Farm Journal’s Trust In Food advisory board. His main responsibilities will be to help Farm Journal launch the largest public-private conservation partnership in the history of American agriculture. Vroom retired in 2018 after 29 years as president and CEO of CropLife America. He serves as chairman of the National FFA Foundation’s Individual Giving Council and sits on the boards of the Soil Health Institute and National Wheat Foundation.

Rabo AgriFinance expanded its leadership team and promoted Shawn Smeins to deputy head for rural business, North America. The deputy role was created to extend consistent rural leadership coverage. In this role, Smeins will focus on business development and growth initiatives. Smeins has been with Rabo AgriFinance since 1993 and has held roles in operations, risk and business development. Most recently, he was the general manager of the company’s central territory. Chris Olson was promoted to succeed Smeins as the general manager of the central territory. Olson was previously serving in the business development manager position for the Midwest region, and Rabo hired Chris Berends to fill that position.

Midwestern BioAg (MBA) appointed two new members to the company’s board of directors. Joining the Board are Jeff Stroburg, Southern States president and CEO, and Tim Kroenke, retired Syngenta head of seed care. Stroburg joins MBA with over 32 years of leadership experience in both the agriculture and petroleum industries. Before joining Southern States, Stroburg served as president and CEO of West Central Cooperative and later Renewable Energy Group for 16 years. Kroenke brings over 30 years of experience from serving in leadership positions with Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences. Kroenke retired from Syngenta in November of 2016, and has since served on the advisory boards for AgTech Accelerator and Boragen.

The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) selected Ian Lemay to serve as its new president, effective June 1. He succeeds George Radanovich, who has served in the position since 2016 and will be leaving CFFA to promote Ag labor policy in Washington, D.C. Lemay has served as CFFA’s director of member relations and communications since 2015. Before that, he was the district director for Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.

Nicole Hasheider

Nicole Hasheider

The National Corn Growers Association added Nicole Hasheider as its new director of biotechnology and crop inputs out of the St. Louis office. Before joining NCGA, Hasheider was a group account director for Osborn Barr.

Paige Smoyer joined the staff of the National Confectioners Association, where she serves as manager of food safety and regulatory affairs. Before NCA, she served as manager of government and technical affairs at the North American Miller’s Association.

The National Milk Producers Federation hired California native Theresa Sweeney to serve as its new communications manager. She comes from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, where she served as a special assistant.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., promoted Jack Lincoln to legislative director from legislative assistant. He will cover the portfolio for agriculture and food, energy, environmental protection, and natural resources. He succeeds Colleen McGowan, who left the office.

Patrick Hester is promoted to chief of staff from deputy legislative director for Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. Hester covers the portfolios for agriculture and food, energy, environmental protection, and immigration. ... Also in Stefanik's office, Julia Angelotti was promoted to deputy chief of staff and legislative director and will cover appropriations, foreign trade, small business, and telecommunications.

Matt Weisman is now with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as a counsel for Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. He previously served on the staff of Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., as his legislative director.

Noah Yantis was promoted from staff assistant to legislative assistant for Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich. Yantis handles the portfolio for agriculture and food.

Jacob Hochberg moves to senior legislative assistant for Rep. Nydia Margarita Velázquez, D-N.Y. Hochberg covers the portfolios of agriculture and food, animals, energy, environmental protection, public lands, and natural resources, and transportation.

Jason Samuels is now the strategic communications director and speechwriter for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. He previously served as the communications manager and executive speechwriter for YouTube and has also served on the staff of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

Keane Bhatt is the new communications director for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Bhatt comes to the office from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he served as a fellow for Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.

Marty Boughton is the new communications director for Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. She was serving as his communications aide and previously worked for the House Education and Labor Committee as its press secretary.

Nancy Peele moved to the office of Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., to serve as his deputy chief of staff. She previously worked in the office of Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., as his assistant chief of staff.

Rebekah Rodriguez joins the staff of Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, as his new legislative aide and correspondent. Rodriguez previously worked in the Office of the Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the USDA as a staff assistant. Before that, she worked on the subcommittee for national parks, forests, and public lands for the House Natural Resources Committee as a clerk under Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

Margaret Tucker Fogarty now serves as the legislative clerk and press assistant for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She previously served as a staff assistant.

Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, hired Mikayla Hall to serve as his new communications director. Hall comes from the House Republican Conference, where she worked on the staff of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., as the internal content manager and copy editor. She has also spent time in the offices of Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Yianni Varonis is now serving as the communications director for Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. Before coming to Lofgren’s office, Varonis served in the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as his press secretary.

Nicole Daigle has left the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where she served as the communications director. Tonya Parish, deputy press secretary, has taken over Daigle's responsibilities, and the committee has not announced a replacement.

Olya Voytovich has left the office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, where she served as his Press Secretary.

Elaina Houser has left the office of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., where she served as his legislative director. She moved west to become the legislative director of the City of Los Angeles.

Andrei Mikhalevsky

Andrei Mikhalevsky

Mykel Wedig has left D.C. and headed to Wisconsin, where she has taken a new position with Cooperative Network, a company focused on protecting and promoting Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s cooperative businesses and shared cooperative principles. She will serve as the cooperative liaison to its corporate staff. She previously served in the office of Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., as his agriculture legislative assistant. She also worked for Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, on the House Agriculture Committee as his legislative assistant.

Joe Barry has left the office of Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to begin a new role with Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., as his legislative assistant.

Tanya Bradsher is now the chief of staff for Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. In her career, she has served at the White House in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, in the Department of Homeland Security, and with the National Security Council.

California Dairies Inc. President and CEO Andrei Mikhalevsky announced he plans to retire at the end of the year. CDI’s board of directors have begun the search for the new successor and both the board and Mikhalevsky stated they are committed to ensuring a smooth transition to a new president and CEO. 

Budgetary policy master and farm subsidy critic, Alice Rivlin, died at the age of 88. During her career, Rivlin served as the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1975 to 1983. In 1994, President Bill Clinton made her the first female director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and from 1996 to 1999, she was vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. 

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